In most instances, I couldn’t care less about what celebrities do with their private time. They’re just people, albeit with absurd amounts of money, and even that doesn’t make me interested in what they’re wearing or what stupid thing they named their baby.
Occasionally, however, a celebrity surprises me by acting like a contributing member of society. Every once in a while, celebrities actually put all that money and media attention to good use by attracting attention to a worthy cause or social issue.
Take the seven celebrities listed here, for instance. Each one has used their influence to create awareness about issues involving animals, from factory farming to eco-friendly products that protect pets and the planet from unnecessary toxins.
If you’re looking for some good news among all the crap about perfume lines and romantic scandals, this is the celebrity slideshow for you.
Earlier this month, Gosling wrote an op-ed for The Globe and Mail. Rather than promoting his latest movie, the article took a stand against the horrifying conditions in which commercial animals are kept before they meet the unfortunate fate of becoming our food.
Pigs in tiny crates suffer beyond anything most of us can easily imagine, wrote Gosling. They are unable even to turn around for weeks at a time, so that their muscles and bones deteriorate. And these extremely social and intelligent animals lose their minds from being denied any social or psychological stimulation at all.
I applaud NFACC [Canada’s National Farm Animal Care Council] for working to improve life for Canada’s pigs, and I join Farm Sanctuary and Humane Society International in asking that it close this dangerous loophole by prohibiting the pork industry from confining pigs for weeks at a time – something I would never dream of doing to George, and that no compassionate Canadian would ever do to any animal.
(Stand with Ryan Gosling and help pigs in tiny crates by signing this Care2 petition.)
There are dozens of reasons to love Ellen DeGeneres, not the least of which is the fact that she makes pet care and animal rights issues a regular element of her television show. Initiatives to find animals loving homes appear regularly on the Ellen website, and in 2008, she became part owner of Halo, a world-renowned holistic pet care products company.
Image via David Shankbone
A vegetarian since she was 11 years-old, Kristin Bell fostered animals from Michigan Humane Society and she now supports the San Diego based Helen Woodward Animal Center. She also took the top honor in PETA’s “World’s Sexiest Vegetarians” award in 2006, and told the organization of her how her love for animals led her to choose that lifestyle.
“I have always been an animal lover. I had a hard time disassociating the animals I cuddled with—dogs and cats, for example—from the animals on my plate, and I never really cared for the taste of meat. I always loved my Brussels sprouts!”
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Making music isn’t the only thing Willie Nelson has been working on for the better part of the last 40 years. Nelson is also an outspoken animal rights advocate. In 2011, Nelson, a dog lover who lends his famous name to the Best Friends Animal Society, “spoke out in favor of Ohio House Bill 14, which would remove a law that declares certain breeds vicious, i.e., canine profiling. Nelson, a long time dog lover and animal rights activist, published a letter asking Ohio residents in support of the bill to contact their state senators.”
Image via Wikimedia Commons
If you’re over 30 years of age, you may have no idea who Ke$ha is, but rest assured your nieces, nephews, and younger siblings do. When not performing in over the top concerts, this pop music diva uses popularity as a mouthpiece for animal rights. “She has spoken out against cruelty to wild animals like seals, lions and sharks, as well as supporting cruelty-free cosmetics. Her outspoken approach to animal rights has earned her the 2013 Wyler Award from The Humane Society of the United States.”
Image via PetFoodIndustry.com
Like many of us, celebrity chef Rachael Ray was heartbroken by the number of pets who end up in shelters simply because an irresponsible owner abandoned them. To help create awareness of this problem and find these precious animals a loving home, Ray started her own line of pet food, called Nutrish. If you visit her website, you’ll find a page called “Rachael’s Rescue” which states that a portion of the proceeds from the sales of her products is donated to organizations dedicated to helping animals in need.
Image via Wikimedia Commons
For many the name Russell Simmons is synonymous with some of the most notorious rap and hip hop acts of the past few decades. It may come as a surprise to know that despite his tough exterior, Simmons is also a vegan and animal rights activist who practices yoga. He was awarded the PETA 2011 Person of the Year Award, advocates for the reporting of animal cruelty, and started a vegan line of clothing that is fur, wool and leather-free.
What celebrities do you admire because of their willingness to speak up for animals? Share them in a comment!
Image via Thinkstock